Missouri senator proposes controversial religious freedom bill

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by Matt Sczesny / News 4 | @KMOVMatt

KMOV.com

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 26 at 11:47 PM

 (KMOV) -- A religious freedom bill has been introduced in the Missouri Legislation despite the controversial veto in Arizona.

Senate Bill 916 has been introduced but no one knows if it has any steam to be approved in Missouri. It certainly is getting attention as some say its legalized discrimination targeting homosexuals.

“I would say where this comes from, where these particular restrictions come from is a place of fear,” said Dara Strickland with the LGBT Center of St. Louis as she explained where she thinks this bill is coming from.

Its sponsor, Senator Wayne Wallingford of Ste. Genevieve didn’t return calls or emails made by News 4’s Matt Sczesny.

The bill would give businesses the right to refuse service to anyone they choose because of religion.

Patrons at Mokabee’s Coffee Shop on South Grand voiced their opinions of the proposed bill.

"I don't think it has a place anywhere especially not in Missouri."

"I think right now living in a red state people would think it belongs here but it definitely doesn't we're completely behind the times and moving backward to the civil rights movement, absolutely ridiculous and absurd."

That also seems to be the opinion of the NFL, which threatened to pull the super bowl from Arizona next year if the bill there became law.

News 4’s Matt Sczesny wondered if tourism officials in St. Louis had a similar concern over the bill affecting future events here, but the Convention and Visitors Commission in St. Louis never got back to him.

When asked if this bill is a form of legalized discrimination? Strickland said “I would say this bill is an invitation to bedlam.”

Click here to read the bill in its entirety.

Stay with News 4 and KMOV.com on the bill’s progress in the capitol. 

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